Behind the lines: Keyboard quarterbacks

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    “Social media made you all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it,” legendary heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson said.

    While “Iron Mike” is regarded more for his deadly hook and vicious uppercut than his philosophical wisdom, the “Dynamite Kid” was spot on with this quote.


    It has become wearily all too common for hangers on, and never will be types, to snipe those that put themselves in the limelight of competition.

    Social media, whether its Twitter, Facebook or some fringe politically biased outlet is the home for the modern critic.

    At one time, a critic was someone with knowledge of a subject. The greatest critics of the 1960s were Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, and William F. Buckley. Though Mailer wrote gritty, reality based stories that exposed the cruel, and criminal nature of the justice system, it was Vidal and Buckley who squared off on a regular basis.

    Both were regarded as snobby, elitists with demeaning attitudes towards those with different opinion, but they were both very learned in what they spoke of, and the facts they presented were irrefutable.


    Social media changed all that. Now, any moron with a keyboard is on an equal footing with highly regarded, educated specialist in any field. This equal status with the 24/7 news teams has created confusion and distrust.

    It extends to sports as well. Nothing is more ridiculous to hear than some clown replaying a college or professional football game when it is obvious, they never took a single snap themselves and would have folded like a lawn chair at their first contact with an actual player.

    They are armchair quarterbacks, with opinions on each and every player and coach who bravely step into the limelight of the ring of competition.


    When these clowns start ranting on the mistakes made by the (fill in the blank…Raiders, Broncos, Cowboys, Colts….) professionals, its hilarious. They rarely know any of the rules and thrive on their idiotic opinions. They are buffoons on their best day, and sadly viewed as mentally deficient on their worst.

    They shouldn’t bother us but should be pitied (and avoided) each time they start regurgitating what they heard on television from an extremist commentator.

    You’ll find these people in Division I football, perhaps more than the NFL since the rabid fan base that follows Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and Oregon is every bit, and perhaps more passionate than any NFL team.


    These people (its not always guys) wear the team colors, know the players and coaches names, and claim to be part of the program while most of them never stepped foot on campus.

    This is OK as well. They can have their little fantasies without bothering the rest of us. They’re humorous to watch, and fun to bait, but they don’t do much damage since Division I players are largely immune from this type of fetid fandom, and professionals ignore it completely.

    The problem comes when this fanatical behavior extends to your local high school.

    Each year the hangers one, and never was crowd starts dumping on teenagers more than the year before.

    It happened again beginning Saturday afternoon after Big Piney rolled over Wind River in the Class 1-A 9-man championship game.

    The Cougars beat the Punchers in the regular season, but Big Piney won the rematch on the biggest stage prep athletics can present, the state championship game.

    Yes, the kids bait each other before the game. Social media makes it too easy for a player, or players to get online and try to intimidate their rivals.

    It never works, and always has the opposite effect.

    In the old days before social media, coaches were careful what they said to the local newspaper since any derogatory quote would end up on their opponents’ bulletin board as a way to motivate that team against them in the next game.

    When Lingle Ft. Laramie head football coach Roger Foos made the comment to the papers in Scottsbluff and Torrington back in 1981 that the Lusk Tigers didn’t have a passing game, and that senior Troy Hladky was not a good quarterback it made our bulletin board, complete with underlined passages less the boys miss what he said.

    We threw more the following week against the Doggers than in the other nine games that season combined and beat heavily favored Lingle 14-6 for the Texas Trial Conference Championship.

    That was an exchange between coaches, players and opposing coaches and while it isn’t savory, its still part of the game. When fans who have no part in anything except postgame gloating get involved it is embarrassing for both the idiotic fan and the team they support.

    Big Piney won the title. The Punchers are state champions, and deserve it based on how hard they played.

    The idiots who went online immediately after the game to insult Wind River coaches and players would have to improve dramatically just to become terrible as players themselves.

    What has happened is guys who were never any good themselves, or who didn’t play at all somehow get a vicarious thrill in insulting the kids on the other team that played their best in a losing effort.

    It isn’t demeaning to the losing team, but it is to the miscreants making these inane comments.

    The problem is that these clowns don’t know they are embarrassing themselves since they never accomplished anything on their own. They were just trying to jump onto the coattails of the Punchers and their outstanding coaching staff by trying to belittle the kids from Pavillion.

    At the end of the day, these high school players are just kids, they’re not adults yet, though their bodies are as big or larger than most of the older people in their community.

    If you need to insult a kid to make yourself and your petty position in life feel better, it’s an example of a very insecure, inferior personality. Perhaps you need psychiatric help to solve your problem before you dump on a youngster.

    If you can’t tell, it angers me when an “adult” attacks a kid.

    If you’re really feeling arrogant and think you’re the cock of the walk, why not call the boy’s father and tell him what you think of his son. Since you’re a legend in your own mind, you might as well share that with other adults, not just the teenagers.

    That will be a lot more fun for the rest of us to watch.

    Leave the kids alone.


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